Mike Richards Is Reportedly The Frontrunner To Permanently Host “Jeopardy!”
Huh, that’s a weird way of spelling “LeVar Burton.” No, wait, that name provided is correct. At least according to multiple sources who spoke with Variety. They claim that the producers of Jeopardy! believe they have finally found the late Alex Trebek’s replacement as the host of Jeopardy!. And apparently, they’re going with someone who already knows their way around the office kitchen and doesn’t need to be taught the internal desk phone system: Jeopardy! executive producer Mike Richards. But well, they may have made that decision before hearing about the workplace harassment allegations against him…
Mike Richards is a 46-year-old executive producer of Jeopardy! who became one of the interim guest hosts by accident, after previous guest host Ken Jennings (and rumored permanent host hopeful) needed to wrap it up and leave to go work on another project. Mike guest-hosted for two weeks in February and March. Apparently, the people in charge thought he did such a good job, they’re reportedly in “advanced negotiations” with him to secure him as the permanent host of Jeopardy!. Which is terrible, awful news for the one person out there who really wanted it to be Dr. Oz (don’t worry Dr. Oz, I’m sure you’ll get over it with these three home remedy cures for disappointment). via Variety:
Jeopardy! executive producer Mike Richards is in advanced negotiations with Sony Pictures Television to become permanent host of the venerable quiz show, taking the reins of the syndicated powerhouse that was fronted by Alex Trebek for 36 years. Richards, who joined the show just last year as executive producer, impressed Sony Pictures brass with his command of the fast-paced game and easy on-air manner.
A Sony Pictures spokesman said discussions were ongoing with several potential candidates. He would not comment specifically on Richards’ status. A source close to the situation cautioned that there’s no certainty that the sides will close a deal and that other candidates remain in the mix, although Richards is clearly the front-runner.
Of course, there is a long list of potential candidates who could beat Mike to the stack of clue cards. Guest hosts have included the likes of Mayim Bialik, Aaron Rodgers, Robin Roberts, George Stephanopoulos (who allegedly really wanted the job), Ken Jennings, Dr. Oz, and of course, LeVar Burton, who was a fan favorite and ended up on the receiving end of a little social media grassroots campaign to get him hired. But, unless negotiations fall through, it’s probably most likely going to be Mike. Which would actually make sense, considering Mike has previous game show and reality TV hosting experience. Did you watch the second season of Beauty and the Geek? Then you’ll likely remember that Mike hosted that. He was also reportedly considered to take over The Price Is Right after Bob Barker retired, but Drew Carey was eventually chosen. Mike also served as a producer on that show, as well as The Weakest Link, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, Let’s Make a Deal, and Wheel of Fortune. And, Mike was also a hit with viewers at home, some of which got horny enough to go online and publicly admit that they’d put their personal lives in jeopardy and risk it all for his Daily Double.
But there is a chance that negotiations could fall through since the internet brought out harassment allegations against Mike from 2011. Popculture says that when Mike was a producer on The Price Is Right, he and another producer, Adam Sandler (not THAT Adam Sandler), were accused of harassment by Lanisha Cole, one of the show’s models. Lanisha filed a wrongful termination lawsuit, claiming that she was constantly harassed by producers. Lanisha, who worked on the show from 2009 to 2010, accused Mike of pushing her to the side in favor of another model he was dating at the time. She also said that Mike hindered her modeling work on the show by creating policies “which never before existed.” And Lanisha alleged that in September 2010, Adam Sandler walked into her dressing room without knocking, and while she was topless, yelled at her in front of the other models. Adam was allegedly mad that Lanisha didn’t respond to an on-air comment made by host Drew Carey even though she wasn’t mic’d up at the time.
Lanisha complained to management but said that they didn’t properly investigate her complaints, so she did what she had to do and left the show. Mike Richards was dismissed as a defendant in April 2013, and that same year, the lawsuit was settled.
So there is a chance the Jeopardy! producers may not so slowly back away from their choice of Mike Richards as a permanent host. And there’s probably a 100% chance that George Stephanopoulos once again slid his resume across the table along with reports of Mike’s harassment allegations.